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Finding Reference Points On Newly Paved Tracks


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Hi,

 

I really struggled finding reference points on the newly paved Las Vegas track this past weekend. Any suggestions? Most of the tracks I ride have plenty of patch work, scratches, numbered braking markers, etc to help me find RP's. It just seemed like all of the tire marks this weekedn looked the same to me. I also find flat tracks more difficult as well. Thanks for any feedback.

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Hi, Use fewer RPs. I believe the Twist II book says something like less is better like when in sunset or in my case sundown where you find fewer RPs. When endurance racers go at night they can go just as fast becuase of fewer RPs to confuse themselves as Keith noted and I find this to be true but challenging...it takes time to develop the trust you need to use the RP's you choose as the most reliable. They may look similar so find the ones that are most prominet and ignore the rest. Good luck, It will work. I'm sure others will help you understand and correct me if I'm not exactly on the money or left something out. Thanks for bringning this important topic up. Vision and awareness are as important as anything else.

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Hi,

 

I really struggled finding reference points on the newly paved Las Vegas track this past weekend. Any suggestions? Most of the tracks I ride have plenty of patch work, scratches, numbered braking markers, etc to help me find RP's. It just seemed like all of the tire marks this weekedn looked the same to me. I also find flat tracks more difficult as well. Thanks for any feedback.

Is there not anything trackside that you can use? You could combine a pole/mark, etc. with track position, etc. no? Or are there none there in a good position (sorry, never been there).

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At Vegas with the new pavement I ended up using a lot more reference points that were not directly on the pavement; things like ends of curbing, clumps of weeds at the edge of the track, etc. For example in Turn 1 my turn point (if I remember correctly) was in line with the end of the concrete curbing next to the track, and I knew I wanted to be a certain distance from the outside edge of the track (about a foot) so that allowed me to find and use a consistent turn area without having an actual mark right on the track.

 

In the big left-hand horsehoe turn I was using a particular green weedy plant next to the inside edge, because it was next to my desired turn area and I could see from far enough away to get lined up to it on approach, and it helped me judge how far away I was so I didn't roll off too early.

 

Sometimes you have to get creative and use something off the track, or a relative distance - like "about 10 feet before the end of the curbing" or "apex about 6 inches inside of the beginning of the third red stripe on the curb", or you can even use something farther in the distance - at Laguna and Barber there are sections that are uphill and some riders use distant telephone poles or fence poles to line up to the right area for the turn after the hill - because you can't see the turn itself until you crest the hill!

 

Since we are talking about reference points, what are some of the characteristics of a good reference point?

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I'd think the key characteristics were:

  • highly visible so you can spot at speed as you approach
  • unmoving (i.e. a fixed pole, line, dot, etc. and not a cone. Or a tortoise—yes, I've heard a story about that).

 

 

Yes - exactly. Another characteristic is that it must be useful to you, identifying a place for you to turn, or shift, begin or end braking, etc., - or just to tell you that you are on your desired line.

 

It is a bonus if it is a permanent enough marker that it is likely to be there the next time you come back to the track; skid marks can be pretty good reference points but they can change between visits. :)

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My tendency is to use curbing as a reference point when there is nothing on the surface that can give you good RP's. The interesting thing is curbing while it looks the same if you look close enough you find lots of variations. You could use the edge of the curbing or a number of color variations as a reference point. I have a few corners that I turn on the 3rd white mark from the edge on the outside curbing.

 

Even when there's no reference points at all to work from and no curbing you can still make it work. Making a note of the "shape" of the corner and where the turn point is in your mind is a way that I use for "invisible" reference points. Not as accurate as an actual physical turn point but it works when there are not other options.

 

I heard a story about someone who made their own reference points with the rear brake on a brand new track. That's certainly another approach but might get you black flagged. :)

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